jonathan ive

Ive is renowned for having an ‘alchemical’ sense for engineering, and the limits of what one can do with metal. As design expert Stephen Bayley puts it: ‘He thinks and thinks about what a product should be and then worries it into existence.’

Apple CEO Steve Jobs makes a surprise appearance at the launch of the iPad 2

Ive’s lab is Apple’s inner sanctum. Here, touch screens control the glass-sided machines in which new products take form. Desks are bare bar the aluminium sheets that slot together to form the familiar lines of iconic products such as the MacBook Air.

Collectively, the designers obsess over each product, stripping away non-essential parts, reworking tiny details such as LED indicators on the sides of laptops and phones. Ive once spent months working solely on the stand for Apple’s desktop iMac; he was searching for the sort of organic perfection found in sunflower stalks.

That final design used a combination of forged and polished steels and expensive laser welding to create an elegant, beautiful stem that was barely even noticed in the finished product. Ive loathes shape-making for its own sake (Bayley says he’s known to use ‘arbitrary’ as a term of abuse).

His most fevered creations never even make it out of the lab. He works by a process of evolution, and failures simply die on the workbench. One Apple senior executive remembers his first visit there: ‘The creations they were working on were all over the map, crazy stuff. It was always very experimental, material that the world is not quite ready for. Even within Apple, the design team is very secretive.’

via Mail Online.